Tying a program record, seven Wildcats were voted onto the All-Northwest Conference Baseball first team, as announced Monday following a vote of league’s coaches. In all, 12 Linfield players plus head coach Scott Brosius received all-league recognition, including NWC Pitcher of the Year Chris Haddeland (Jr., McMinnville, Ore.), two second team selections and three honorable mentions.
Haddeland became the third Wildcat in program history to receive the conference’s top pitching honor after leading the nation in victories (11) to go along with a team-low 1.16 ERA. Over 93 innings pitched, which included an NWC-best six complete games, Linfield’s ace hurled 73 strikeouts and held opposing batters to a paltry .193 average.
Fellow starter Aaron Thomassen (Jr., Seattle, Wash.) was also accorded first team honors in his first appearance on the all-star squad. The sophomore boasted a 2.66 ERA in 12 starts this season, winning 10 games against one loss and tallying 62 strikeouts. He went undefeated (7-0) against conference foes, and gave up just eight extra-base hits over the course of the NWC schedule.
Infielders Tim Wilson and Corey VanDomelen (Jr., Tigard, Ore.) and the entire outfield crew – composed of Jake Wylie (Sr., Eagle, Idaho), Kramer Lindell (Sr., West Linn, Ore.) and Nick Fisher (Sr., Lake Oswego, Ore.) – rounded out the first team selections for Linfield.
Wilson became the fifth Wildcat of the past decade to three-peat on the first team after posting a .429 average that was second best in the NWC. He was the league leader in hits (75), including 12 doubles, a team-high four triples and two home runs. The All-American second baseman, who also played a handful of games in the outfield, led the conference in stolen bases, swiping 30 bags on the year to break Linfield’s career record (69).
Shortstop and two-hole hitter VanDomelen was seemingly always on base, parlaying 33 hits and a league-high 32 walks into a .432 on-base percentage. He played a relatively quiet but important role in Linfield’s offensive strategy, supplying 11 sacrifice hits, driving in 17 RBI and stealing 12 bases. Defensively, the sophomore registered a .931 fielding percentage and aided in turning 28 of Linfield’s record-tying 43 double plays.
On a roster bursting with talented hitters, Wylie perhaps demonstrated the most power, smacking a team-high seven home runs, including two grand slams, and driving in a whopping 58 RBI – a figure that ranks in the top five nationally – as part of a .642 slugging percentage. He hit .384 on the year and recorded a .990 fielding percentage over 100 chances in the outfield and behind the plate.
Lindell achieved first team honors for the second time in his career after wrapping up the regular season with a batting average (.410) nearly 100 points higher than what it was at the end of his sophomore year. His 64 total hits – second only to Wilson among NWC leaders – included a team-high 17 doubles and four home runs. The junior centerfielder also stole 13 bases and was defensively perfect over 99 opportunities in the outfield.
A productive hitter and quick base runner, Fisher hit .395 on the year, tallying 21 extra-base hits, and was 23-for-25 on stolen base attempts. He plated 40 runs – third most on the Linfield squad – and boasted the team’s second highest slugging percentage (.612). Fisher had 19 multiple-hit games and 12 multiple-RBI outings, and was one of just four Wildcats to start all 40 games.
Kyle Chamberlain and Justin Huckins (Sr., Bend, Ore.) were awarded second team citations, Chamberlain for the second time in his career and Huckins for the first.
Chamberlain started 30 games at catcher and first base, recording a .986 fielding percentage and throwing out six runners attempting to steal. Offensively, he totaled 19 hits, including his first two career home runs, and 15 RBI.
Huckins led the league with seven saves - one shy of Linfield's single-season record - and also picked up two wins in 14 total appearances. He pitched 31 2/3 innings, surrendering just five earned runs and six walks against 30 strikeouts.
Honorable mention citations were awarded to Clayton Truex (Sr., Kirkland, Wash.), Jordan Harlow and Nate McClellan (Sr., Shoreline, Wash.).
Truex, Linfield’s first baseman, had a great bounce-back year, hitting .343 with 15 extra-base hits and 28 RBI. Harlow was a defensive stalwart at third base, and hit .263 with 36 total hits on the offensive side of the game. McClellan started 32 games as the Wildcats’ designated hitter, racking up 56 total bases and 27 RBI as part of a .275 average.
Brosius was selected by his peers as the NWC Coach of the Year for the fourth time in six seasons at Linfield. Under his leadership this year, the ‘Cats have achieved their first No. 1 ranking in Division III history, third Northwest Conference championship in four seasons and a 34-6 overall record.
Linfield awaits word of its regional playoff destination. The complete field of 56 teams selected to participate in the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship is expected to be announced via press release on the morning of Monday, May 13.
Boasts 11-1 record, 1.16 ERA
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McMinnville, OR 97128